Food is an Experience

I’m a big advocate of food being an experience. Food is more than just the sustenance we consume, it’s also the atmosphere we consume it in. Thankfully us Michigan students live on a campus crammed with unreal food based experiences. I would have to say the place that takes the cake for greatest overall experience—food coupled with atmosphere—is our very own Zingerman’s. Zingerman’s man…they really have the whole experience thing down.

The Zingerman’s Experience

Let’s start at the back of the line (and by back I mean tail end of a mile long human centipede wrapping the side of the deli and beyond). Every time my mom comes to visit, she can’t help but rave about how organized and efficient Zingerman’s is. While you’re waiting on the half mile line that borders the outside of the building and beyond, employees join you outside to hand out menus and serve the cutest little samples of coffee that make the (likely) negative temperatures bearable.

Before you’re ushered inside, you’re greeted at the door of the deli by a fine selection of Zingerman’s sides, such as the out of this world mac and cheese and potato salad. My only complaint here would be the toothpicks you’re suppose to serve yourself with…I can never get enough grip on the food and end up poking more samples than I should. My b.


Photo by Lexie Rechan

As you begin your journey at the door to the front of the deli line, you can’t help but admire the precise system Zingerman’s has worked out in order to successfully guide customers through the holy land. Feel free to buy cheese or bread while you’re waiting in line. For me, reading through the extensive menu is enough to keep me occupied during the wait.

This is typically when I ditch my mom and venture over to Zingerman’s Next Doorone of the brand’s incredible family of businesses full of coffee, tea, pastries, scones, chocolate, pies, gelato, cake–you name it. Just like Zingerman’s, you can sample just about anything you want Next Door. I give their brownies an A+. But my absolute favorite thing/drink/caffeinated beverage is their Dirty Sheed–2 shots of espresso, a hint of Mexican vanilla and cream served over ice. It also comes in the cutest damn cup you just want to hold forever like your favorite purse.


Photo by Julie Mirliss

Hopping back in the deli line with my Dirty Sheed in tow, I usually begin to doubt my sandwich choice as I near the end of my journey. Not because I doubt the deliciousness of my choice, but because there are so many frustratingly delicious things to choose from it’s nearly impossible to be completely comfortable with your choice because you want to try everything.


Photo by Lexie Rechan

It definitely relieves some stress when you’re offered more samples towards the front of the line. I typically accept a small cup of the mac and cheese–a small dosage, yet triumphant in its feat to satisfy and relax me. Feeling rejuvenated, I can make a final decision on my sandwich from here. Now excited again, I can skip up the stairs to the spacious and colorful seating area where I await my meal of the gods.

Deli Recommendations

I know making a decision at Zingerman’s is like choosing between 100 adorable puppies (or something else you love), so here are my expert recommendations:

#2 Zingerman’s Reuben, #18 Georgia Reuben, #422 Eddie’s Big Deal, curried turkey, swiss potato salad, latkes, mac and cheese, and the ABC kale.